Joe Waltz shares message of hope in face of COVID-19

(Editor’s note: The message below is the transcript from the above video featuring Joe Waltz.)

Hello fellow residents of Clinton and Centre Counties. For those of you who may not know me yet, my name is Joe Waltz, and I am running to be your next State Representative in Pennsylvania’s 76th House District.

Today, I wanted to come to you with a message of understanding, hope and compassion, and to reflect on our communities’ proven resilience.

We have seen unprecedented changes unfolding in our lives over the past several weeks. The importance of things we once may have taken for granted now shines bright: the camaraderie of family and friends, good health, a clean natural environment, tasty food and the ability to go out and enjoy our favorite establishments.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not all grappling with hard realities.

Children, teenagers and young adults who would typically be in school right now are home, with school not coming back in session and extracurriculars put on hold. Employees — and many employers — are now unable to work. The small businesses, and organizations, that make our communities unique and provide the services and products we all cherish are struggling to keep afloat. Seniors and people with immune deficiencies are facing higher risks. Everyone is weary, afraid of getting sick, and worried about losing loved ones. They’re also afraid of not being able to put food on the table, about having to choose between an electricity bill or a healthcare fee. 

Yes, the economic impact for our area is deep and sadly we’re not out of the woods yet. But, there are lights shining at the end of the tunnel.

Agencies, organizations, and governments are stepping up in various ways to help alleviate the burdens families are facing right now. Public health officials in the White House have outlined a strategic path to reopening businesses and industries that have been put on standby the past few weeks. These guidelines for when and how to reopen are based on scientific research and are being implemented across the country by officials from both parties. 

This isn’t a time for partisan politics or to point fingers and place blame. It’s a time for us to come together, to provide a sense of community when people need it most, and to do what must be done to deal with this virus and get our communities back on track.

With some precautions in place, businesses deemed “non-essential” during this shutdown will soon be able to open their doors once more. That doesn’t mean the pain caused by the past several weeks will disappear. I urge everyone to consider how they can support local businesses now and once things are getting back to normal — either through the purchase of gift cards, online and takeout orders, or a simple donation.

We are living through an unparalleled time and there’s no blueprint or set of directions for any of us to follow. As we continue to take in new information about the virus, how and where it is spreading, what can be done to mitigate it, and when we can begin moving forward, take it day by day. Please listen to the professionals who rely on factual data, take every precaution now as well as after things open up again, and try to stay hopeful. Together we can beat this.

Throughout this ordeal, I’ve heard over and over again the idea that “We’re all in this together.” I couldn’t agree more. And I think it’s something that we should all remember as we pull through this.

Our area has fought back against what, at times, have felt like insurmountable odds: ravaging floods, the loss of major industries, and compounded economic hardships. We have proven our resilience in more ways than one, finding ways to protect, sustain and uplift our communities. We come together when it matters most. 

And this situation is no different. It’s evident in the food drives that have popped up or expanded to help families in need, the hand-drawn rainbows in windows that serve as nodes of hope, and in the gesture of wearing a mask to protect a neighbor. 

Lastly, I just want to remind everyone that my campaign has developed a resource page for people impacted by Covid-19 that is being updated regularly, and we are continuing to plan virtual events to hear from 76th District residents. You can learn more at www.ElectJoeWaltz.com/coronavirus-assistance

Thank you to all of the healthcare providers, emergency services professionals, organizations, agencies, and individuals helping people in this time of need. And thanks also to everyone working in essential industries — from grocery store clerks to production line technicians, to hospital janitorial staff and everyone in between — for showing up every day and continuing to ensure the vital needs of our communities are met. 

Stay safe and I hope to soon see you all out and about soon, enjoying the camaraderie of loved ones and the unique assets our communities have to offer.